LAREDO, Texas — When you head to the southern side of our state, you don’t expect to find a whole lot of BBQ by the border, so Johnny Castaneda did something about it. He busted out his smoker and brought same bodacious bbq to Laredo.
“I learned to cook from my mom,” Johnny said. “That was one of the things. We were really big on family. Cooking barbeque brings family together.”
A huge fan of the movie Tombstone, he’s known as Johnny Ringo in these parts.
“Ever since the movie Tomb Stone came out everybody would always call me Charlie Ringo and I was like I don’t know why they would call me Johnny Ringo because I’m not a bad guy,” Johnny said.
Since it sounded cool, Johnny rolled with Ringo and he doesn’t mind throwing out a famous line from time to time.
“Well bye,” Johnny said.
We’re not going anywhere, because we called down the thunder and we’re about it get it with one beefy burger.
“Put barbeque and a burger together,” Johnny said. “Henceforth, the Doc Holiday.”
First a half pound patty is placed on the grill, while a sourdough bun gets toasted and an egg fried. As it all cooks, Johnny south Texas BBQ smoked with oak gets ready for the showdown.
“Here, mesquite is in abundance,” Johnny said. “We can go to the back right now and get some mesquite but oak is totally different. It gives it a milder taste. A little nutty. People notice it.”
The bun gets a layer of chopped beef, held together with the hatch sausage. Add to all of that, the burger itself topped with shredded cheddar, bacon and an egg.
After getting every morsel of meat mixed up in my mouth, it was marvelous. On occasion you get the brisket and on occasion you get the sausage. Just an incredible combination of flavors for the barbeque or burger lover in your life.
“This is Texas soul food,” Abraham said. “The barbeque is really good.”
Seeing people enjoy his BBQ means a lot to Johnny because not to long ago, a stroke sidelined him from stoking the fires at Ringo’s.
“I was in a coma for six, seven days,” Johnny said. “When I came to I look to my right and I saw my wife, my daughter and my son that lives in Washington and I knew something had happened.”
Johnny is recovering but is unable to play as big of role in his business.
“Seeing him today was a blessing and I’m glad that he’s here,” Erasmo said. “He’s on his way back. It will take time but you know what? Never give up.”
Well if you happen to be down at the border and happen to have a hankering for a sandwich that happens to have beef, brisket, sausage and egg on it, Ringo’s down in Laredo is well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List.
“I wish people would understand that it’s something you should eat at least once in your lifetime but once won’t cut it,” Erasmo said. “It’s like a potato chip. Once you have it one time you have to have it all the time. It’s good.”